French unions have expressed concerns that today’s (30 June) announcement of a successful bidder for parts maker Heuliez does not specify the company’s stamping expertise.
The takeover for Heuliez will involve 119 redundancies out of an original 600-strong workforce, with the Baelen de Gaillard Industries (BGI) and Con Energy/Kohl consortium taking the reins at the south west France company.
It is unclear whether these redundancies imply the end of Heuliez’s stamping activity, but French metallurgy union CFE-CGC has aired its worries the company will now concentrate mainly on electric vehicle development.
“Heuliez has a very important potential for stamping,” CFE-CGC vice president automobile Dominique Chauvin told just-auto from France. “What will [they] do about stamping?
“If they concentrate on electric vehicles – we have some reservations about it.”
Chauvin also questioned whether or not Heuliez could compete with giants such as Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Toyota, who were all developing EVs at a rapid pace.
The union representative insisted however, it was not saying the takeover was bad. “We are not saying that – it is good news for the staff,” he said. “We have [just] got reservations still.”
It is true the takeover details released from France’s industry ministry today – in which the French government has agreed to provide EUR10m (US$12.2m) of loans to sweeten the deal – makes no mention of Heuliez’s stamping capability.
Reference is made however from the ministry to Heuliez’s “automobile sub-contracting,” although it is unclear exactly what this covers.
The ministry rather curiously insists that “those who made political statements and false announcements” had significantly held up the process as it went through the Tribunal de Commerce de Niort which evaluated several bids.
It appears the issue has been a political football between various local factions and the government, although the State seems to have emerged victorious.